Our last week in Tasmania was spent along the north coast. We camped on the beach a few kilometres east of Stanley. What an amazing sight early in the morning as the sun came up.


We met Gus in Bothwell. He is from Bend in Oregon where we have conducted a couple of workshops with Art in The Mountains.

Gus came to Australia, got himself a 1956 Landrover and is in the process of taking it to all the extremities of the country. Cape Byron, Mt Kosciusko and the Southern tip of Tasmania have been ticked off the list so far. When he leaves Tassie, he’s off to Cape York via Shark Bay, WA. Good luck Gus!guss

This outdoor kitchen seems to have escaped all the workplace health and safety restrictions. They did save a lot of space by installing it the electricity metre box.


Oatlands cricket nets


Sunrise Reeds



Tasmanian Lawnmower




Camped by the river in Rossross

No matter how hard we looked, we couldn’t find a Thylacine, but we did stumble across these little critters in our search.




horses wet horses


Shooting things is popular in some areas of Tasmania – maybe thats why we had such trouble finding a thylacine.



Back across Bass Straight, we spent a few days in Melbourne before heading home via the Hay Plains, One Tree Hotel and Bourke.

one tree


The weather turned foul north of One Tree. Pulling off the road quickly bogged us down to the axle. A shovel, frantic digging and a lot of encouragement and advice from the passenger window, soon saw us on our way


The further east we travelled the more saturated the country became. From Brewarrina home all unsealed roads were closed so it was a quick trip back along the bitumen.



After a week in the Eastern Macdonnells we wound our way slowly back to the Plenty Highway and east to Boulia. From Boulia we took the Kennedy Development Road back to Winton.  This road takes us through the old settlement of Hamilton – once an interesting pub, now a roadside stop with remnants of the old settlement.

Hamilton 2012

Hamilton 1988

The roadside stop even has a shower – with cold and cold running water!

Remains of the old Hamilton stock yards.

This old windmill still pumps water up from underground to supply the shower.

Middleton Pub is further along the Kennedy Development Rd towards Winton. It has gone through a few changes over the years. The photo above is 2012 and the shot below is how it looked when we stopped there back  in 1982.

Between Hamilton and Middleton are the Lilleyvale Hills – a spectacular range of jump ups protruding from the flat landscape

We found this wet teddy bear, overcome by the grandeur of it all, head buried in the sand.

The Cawnpore lookout provides a great panorama of the hills.

The Kennedy Development Road is normally a 360km single lane strip of bitumen connecting Boulia and Winton. Unfortunately about 20kms approaching Winton had been dug up to be resurfaced. This would have been OK except heavy rain had turned the detour into impassable bog.

There were two road trains bogged in the mud and two more, each loaded with 120 ton of cattle, stopped on the edge of the formed road. The drivers told us the road had been closed so we camped the night on the road behind them. (Big fines for driving on closed roads.)  In the middle of the night another truck arrived and tried to drive around us, only to slide down, bogged in the side drain. Next morning road workers arrived with a grader to pull the road trains through.

We managed to churn our way through in front of the grader. Once in Winton we headed for the wash down hose at the saleyards to remove what looked like half a tone of thick sticky mud form under the truck.

By the time we reached Winton rain had set in so we headed for home


From Mt Isa we drove south west to Urandangi, a pub, a couple of houses and a small aboriginal community near the Georgina River. The last time I visited Urandangi was 1988 and before that 1982. Not much has changed. The store has closed down and the pub now sells essential supplies. Trees have grown taller, the pub has changed hands and the fuel pumps are newer.

Urandangi 2012

Urandangi 1988

We called into the pub for a beer and to catch up on all the local news, then drove down to a waterhole on the Georgina. As I sat and watched it get dark on the waterhole I could hear a faint hiss. It turned out to be the inside dual wheel on the truck.

Next morning I got to try out this handy device I purchased from the Mining Expo in Mt Isa. A Torque Multiplier – guaranteed to remove the most impossible truck wheel nuts. It worked a treat.


After fitting the spare we headed back into Urandangi to use their compressor and mend the puncture.

A donkey and a small horse were entertained for ages watching me break the bead on this rusted rim.

Once the puncture was mended we headed down to Tobermorey station and across the Plenty Highway. The road was surprisingly good compared to the last time we used it. A few big patches of bull dust and corrugations, but mostly fairly smooth. Parts of the road appeared to have been recently graded. Our last trip across this road was after a dozen road trains had beaten it to a strip of rock and pulverized bull dust that could swallow a car.

Along the road the landscape varies from big plains of Mitchell Grass to tortured looking rocky outcrops and gibber plains

Approaching Harts Range, the size of the mountains increase and they take on the typical Central Australian pinks and purples.

Plains Turkeys are fairly common along the road. They walk slowly with their heads in the air and stand about 750mm tall.

Cool Mornings – even with the sun shining.


From Old Cork Station we headed down into the Diamantina basin. The Diamantina is a huge system of channels that gradually funnel down into a narrow cutting through a rocky escarpment.


The Basin is an amazing expanse of green in an otherwise dry landscape.


…this wedge of green cuts through the Diamantina Gates then winds through plains of Mitchell grass before eventually finding its way to Lake Eyre

Apart from sparsely scattered beef cattle, flies are the dominant form of life.

Lunch under a shady tree


The Diamantina landscape is dotted with interesting jump ups, clay pans and plains of Mitchell grass

This big Wedgetail could hardly get off the ground when we disturbed his feast of roadkill.


Crossing one of the many saltpans

Last light on the Diamantina

Diamantina mustering

Old Diamantina Bronco yards, slowly disintegrating in a dusty clay-pan

An ancient tractor with no rubber parts – not that comfortable, but you never have to mend a flat tyre.


About 120 km south of Winton, on the Diamantina River, are the ruins of Old Cork Station. It was first established in the 1870’s and served as the mail distribution point for the region before the town of Winton existed. It’s a sad sight to see what must have been an impressive sandstone building in such a remote area, slowly crumble into the dust. Unfortunately talk of saving and stablising the building have amounted to nothing. White ants, souvenir gatherers, government inertia and the weather have put an end to saving an impressive  piece of our history

Old Cork Waterhole is part of the Diamantina River. Supposedly full of Yellow Belly.

Scattered around the area are remnants of  old station life – broken plates and bottles, buttons,  nails, wire, even unused bullets.

If you remember the Redgum song, Diamantina Drover listen to this version by Christy Moore



Croydon sprang up in the 1880’s. It was a gold rush town, swelling to over 7000 people and 122 pubs. The Club Hotel is the sole survivor, which gives a clue to the quality of their beer. It’s a typical Queensland pub of the era – all timber, high ceilings, wide veranda with outside seats. a great place for a beer and a meal.


Normanton’s “Purple Pub” is built in the same wide veranda, high ceiling style, but is an unusual combination of two separately roofed buildings. I doubt it was called the purple pub when it was built in the late 1800’s –  purple wasn’t invented till way after that. It’s now the best known landmark in town.

A green butchery has sprung up since we were last there, but it doesn’t seem to be attracting near as much attention.

Mt Morgan 1

This is a shot I took of the National Hotel, Mt Morgan back in the early 80’s. It was a great pub with lots of character. I went back to Mt Morgan 5 years later, intending to stay in the National, only to find it had been converted to a Methodist Church!

Mt Morgan 2

Returning to Mt Morgan this trip, we drove up the hill to see what had become of the old pub.

Well, the Methodist  church had vacated and it was now a private residence. What a shame, such a great example of over the top, goldrush, hotel architecture should have drifted away from it’s intended purpose.

Mt Morgan 3




Daly Waters Pub is one of the NT’s most famous. Built  on a busy droving route in the 1930’s, it was once a watering hole for thirsty cattlemen. Today it attracts tourists from all over the world. There are walls adorned with signed thongs, bras, knickers and foreign banknotes, marking the travels of thousands of visitors enjoying a rowdy beer.

daly waters pub

Couldn’t resist taking a photo of this colour coordinated lady taking a photo of someone drinking a pint outside the pub.


Not far from Bourketown are the Leichhardt  Falls. The Leichhardt River spreads out over a series of eroded rock shelves and the wet season piles up banks of sand all over the place.
The falls look amazing just before the sun comes up. Sorry about the clichéd long exposure – couldn’t help it.
Downstream as the sun is about to come up.


Not far from Bourketown are the Leichhardt  Falls. The Leichhardt River spreads out over a series of eroded rock shelves and the wet season piles up shifting banks of sand.


The falls spill over a rock shelf into a large basin. They look amazing just before the sun comes up. Sorry about the clichéd long exposure – couldn’t help it.


Downstream, yellow reflections as the sun comes up.


The Savannah Way has some beautiful places to camp. Most of the river crossings are really spectacular and, fortunately, not much traffic goes that way, so most of the time you have these places to yourself.